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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gold Occurrences in Minnesota

Making sense of the geology of Minnesota requires that you also consider that of Ontario to the North bordering Minnesota.  Looking at the western end of the Abitibi Gold Province located in Wawa, Ontario from the air you see a series of fault lines can be distinguished that from the air that appear to dive under Lake Superior. 

Geology of the Lake Superior region.  USGS

The question to be answered is the Vermilion Greenstone Belt that lies to the east of Lake Vermilion a western extension of the Abitibi Province.  The Vermilion Greenstone Belt is within the age range of the Abitibi at about 2.7 billion years old.  

Starting in the early 1990s a drilling program was undertaken that suggests that this may be the case. In the past twenty years finding gold in Minnesota has drastically changed not only by the findings in the Vermilion Greenstone Belt, but also by the findings associated with the Duluth Gabbro in the Ely district of the Arrowhead of Minnesota.  There have been millions of ounces of gold that are associated with the volcanogenic massive sulfides that have been discovered there by Duluth Metals and other mining companies.

Prospecting for gold in Minnesota goes back to the 19th century when some of the 49ers returned from the California Goldrush.  It was some of the early gold prospectors that discovered the Mesabi Range while searching for gold.

Gold in quartz typically lode gold.
Photo by Rob Lavinsky

Like all the other Midwestern States the glaciers have brought down gold from the gold regions of Manitoba and OntarioPlacer Gold is found throughout the state with the best prospecting is in the rivers and streams. Another place where placer gold may be found is along the shores of Lake Superior. There is an active gold prospecting community located in Minnesota. This is not counting the lode gold deposits.

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